Crank up the fun and performance factors with your essential mixed-terrain wardrob.
Gravel riding is a modern-day phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of riders enjoying the world where road meets mountain biking. It’s why many riders will wear full-on Lycra road kit and why others will go all gnarly and dress in mountain-bike gear.
Ultimately, you can wear what you like. But as Campagnolo’s breakthrough 13-speed EKAR groupset showed, go gravel-specific and your enjoyment of this rapidly growing genre of cycling will crank up a notch. If not more.
WORK BACK FROM YOUR CHALLENGE
So, what should you look for in gravel clothing? Well, it takes a degree of reverse engineering.
That means working back from the end point, which in gravel’s case is anything from heaving out of the saddle on singletrack climbs to long, smooth stretches of tarmac down on the drops. And everything in-between.
And when it comes to everything in-between, that in-between can be incredibly long. Take the legendary Unbound Gravel, formerly Dirty Kanza, whose marquee event is 200 miles across the dusty Kansas Prairie. Taken to the extreme, there’s the Silk Road Mountain Race, which covers over 1,100 miles.
GHEL GRAVEL BIB SHORTS
Long days in the saddle mean durability and comfort’s key. Which is where Campagnolo’s GHEL Gravel Bib Shorts come in.
Where do we start of the standout features? Why not from the bottom; in other words, the chamois pad. This is a mixed-terrain pad that’s thick enough to dampen off-road forces but light and pliable enough for maximum speed on the road. It’s also incredibly comfortable, which is a theme that runs throughout the shorts.
That includes the core of the short – the breathable, stretchable mesh.
It works with you whatever position you adopt, whether you’re stretched out in search of streamlined speed or horizontal and working like steaming pistons in an effort to scramble over jutted terrain.
Wide elastic straps add further comfort. As does the anti-abrasion Lycra. This also provides appreciated muscle support and, one for those long summer rides, maximum UV protection.
Further cute gravel touches include perforated Lycra pockets on both sides of the thighs for extra storage capacity. Gels and blocks fit in here perfectly.
And there’s reflective detail on the base of the hem for when those day-long rides that reach their conclusion at dusk.
So, you’re sorted for your gravel adventure down below. But what about up top? With Campagnolo’s gravel collection, you have two worthy choices: the GENEBE Gravel Jersey and the SLEGE Gravel Jersey.
Let’s start with the GENEBE, whose stunning aesthetic is matched by its incredible practicality. Similar to the GHEL Gravel Bib Shorts, it’s extremely comfortable so perfect for racking up the miles.
That means it’s less close fitting than the SLEGE but not billowy, so you still look good while saving a few watts by cutting drag.
A mix of wool and synthetic means you’ll not only beat the heat for optimum performance, but you’ll do so with an appreciated freedom of movement. Wool adds odour control, which is appreciated over multi-day journeys.
Three voluminous rear pockets plus a zipped middle one formed from waterproof material safely swallows up nutrition and tools, while thoughtful positioning of reflectives on the back middle pocket means you’ll stay safe into the night.
All in all, this is ideal for both single-day and multi-day gravel adventures.
It’s the same with the SLEGE but with a racier fit for those gravel riders who are seeking a second skin to scythe through the air at optimum speed.
It’s an ergonomic cut employing super-light synthetic fabrics that ensure sweat’s transferred from your body to the environment as swiftly as possible. Rather neatly, ladder-proof fabric’s applied to the sleeves and sides to brush off contact with branches, thorns and bushes on wooden trails.
A full-length zip’s ideal for cooling on high-intensity and hot rides, while five pockets – three on the back, plus an invisible one made from waterproof fabric and a pocket on the side panel – provides plenty of storage.
Again, reflectives are a nod to safety.
To complete the gravel look and make every gravel ride that bit more fun and memorable, there’s also Campagnolo’s stunning KUNKEN Gravel Socks whose ultra-fine yarn adds comfort and support.
Finally, you have the EKAR Gravel Cap.
Looks cool and keep cool all with one stylish item.
THE WOMEN’S COLLECTION
That’s the men’s collection. But what about the women’s? Well, that’s equally as well-thought-out and impressive.
Take the SKADA Gravel Bib Shorts that adopt many of the technical evolutions seen in the GHEL Gravel Bib Shorts.
There’s the same mixed-terrain chamois pad, the same comfortable core and straps, as well as the compressive fit that provides structural support.
The female-specific kit’s equally as breathable, plus it features those appreciated side pockets that are easily reached on the fly. Ultimately, whatever terrain you’re riding on, the SKADA Gravel Bib Shorts will perform.
It’s the same with the Women’s LUSAAN Gravel Jersey that bears the hallmarks of the GENEBE.
That means an incredibly comfortable fit with set-in sleeves; a top that’s made from a mix of wool and polyester, ensuring excellent thermo-regulation and great breathability while naturally fighting odours; and those four rear pockets of which one’s zipped and made from waterproof material.
Finally, you have the Women’s ROBAAN Gravel Jersey, which follows a similar remit to the SLEGE. It’s made from highly breathable, micro-perforated polyester and elastomer techno fabric for impressive temperature management when you’re working hard.
Again, branches and bushes will fail to puncture the neat ladder-proof fabric on the sleeves and sides, while the ROBAAN also features the full-length zip for comfort and venting plus five pockets for increased capacity.
Like the LUSAAN, it also looks stunning. Finish off your gravel wardrobe with the KUNKAN socks, this time in purple.
So, there you have it, everything you need to maximize your gravel adventure. Now all you have to do is ride.